Hotline comedian who uses Rangers as a punchline returns but heavy Clement claim sees mood darken

You would think the first Celtic vs Rangers Scottish Cup Final would provide bravado, boasts and big predictions.

But Rangers backers are down in the dumps and not even a Hampden day out can take the blues away. And there are some numbers which only increase the fear. Rangers have won once in 17 games against Brendan Rodgers – the man who is unbeaten in 11 games at the national stadium.

But not everyone is a fan of the Irishman, who still retains detractors despite a rousing run towards title glory. John McQueen, Glasgow, said: "Why is Brendan Rodgers gloating so much about winning the SPFL title? Rangers handed it to him on a plate! When it came down to the Title deciding game at Parkhead, he fielded a team with not one player out of the 13 he signed himself this season. They only got back into the title race when he accepted all his own signings were duds and he couldn't rely on them. Also Rodgers got six less points than last season & failed to win the League Cup. Celtic are going backwards under him. Ange Postecoglou won the League, not Brendan Rodgers."

And a Hotline regular flatly rejected the notion of Philippe Clement being in the same sphere as the legendary Walter Smith – whose statue will be unveiled on Saturday morning. Tam Williamson, Lanarkshire, said: "In response to a recent statement from a half baked comedian suggesting that Clement could be the 'new' Walter Smith, it beggars belief. Walter was a top manager who won many trophies in his time at Ibrox but more so he was a decent respectable man with dignity and pride and was always welcome at Celtic Park."

There's concerns over Leon Balogun's fitness – but one fan reckons the fact there is a worry over the Nigeria international is the real fear. Seamie Gallagher, said: "Despite spending millions of pounds, Rangers apparently are sweating on the fitness of Leon Balogun for the Scottish cup final? Now if this is not a wind-up, sincerely worry about the time big Phil got left. He needs better than Balogun to stop the champions."

The belief Scottish football is actually a two-horse race was challenged and Stephen Johnstone's presence became the hot topic. John Smith, added: "I had to laugh at Stephen Johnstone talking about Celtic's celebrations after becoming champions for the 12th time in 13 years as way over the top and embarrassing.and how the league is a two horse race, just two little points about that comment are has he watched his team and fans celebrate getting a point at Ibrox against Celtic. Now that's embarrassing and two it's not a two horse race for the last 13 years it's been all Celtic.

Killie fan Tom Paterson, Falkirk, chimed in: "Stephen Johnstone from Ardentinny is in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks anyone other than the Old Firm can win the League title. They have so much more money than their nearest rivals that it's just never going to change - in fact it will get progressively worse. Unless some rich billionaire takes over one of the other teams and ploughed in a couple of hundred million (unlikely in the extreme), then I'm afraid the status quo will remain. Get used to it Stephen as it ain't going to change."

And a quick mention of perceived hypocrisy over Celtic's title part at the weekend. Cameron HalI said: "I was Robert Pender I think I would probably have avoided mentioning Manchester when criticising the behaviour of another team’s fans."

Room for more banter? The jokes keep coming. Eddie Gilfeather, Glasgow, quipped: "Owing to the new format Celtic will be in the Champions League in January of next year. I can understand why Donald Dundas has no idea about this as he, like the rest of us, knew that his beloved team would not be in it."

And the person they are all quoting Stephen Johnstone, is the perfect man to sign off a jam-packed Hotline, with one of his legendary quips. He said: "Jack Butland of Rangers says they need to beef up their defence with any chance of winning the Scottish Cup against Celtic at Hampden well maybe he should tell Philippe Clement to phone Digby Brown that's the only way they are going to win the Cup with him in defence."